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Exp Dermatol. 2015 Jun;24(6):436-42. doi: 10.1111/exd.12691. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Obesity exacerbates imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like epidermal hyperplasia and interleukin-17 and interleukin-22 production in mice.

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Laboratory of Genome and Biosignals, School of Life Sciences, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.
CREST-JST, Saitama, Japan.


Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that is accompanied by an imbalance between the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes. A number of studies have suggested an association between obesity and severe psoriasis; however, it remains to be clarified whether obesity exacerbates psoriasis. To address this unsolved question, we induced psoriasiform dermatitis in mouse models for obesity. We found that obesity exaggerated the severity of psoriasiform dermatitis induced by topical application of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 agonist, imiquimod. Ear swelling and epidermal hyperplasia were more prominent in the obese mice than in the control mice. When compared to imiquimod-treated control mice, imiquimod-treated obese mice expressed higher levels of psoriasis mediators, interleukin-17A (IL-17A) and IL-22 in the skin. Food intake restriction partially abrogated enhanced ear swelling and cytokine overproduction in obese mice. Furthermore, the obesity environment and imiquimod treatment synergistically induced an IL-17A downstream molecule, regenerating islet-derived 3γ (Reg3γ), which is a critical molecule for psoriatic epidermal hyperplasia. Palmitic acid, one of the fatty acids released by subcutaneous adipocytes, increased the expression of REG3A (a human homologue of mouse Reg3γ) in both the HaCaT keratinocyte cell line and normal human keratinocytes. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that obesity exacerbates psoriasiform dermatitis in mice by upregulating IL-17A, IL-22 and Reg3γ.


animal model; epidermal hyperplasia; obesity; psoriasis

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